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The Rays Tank: Failed Hopes

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Swept in Oakland to start September.

Hold on to your helmets, September's going to be a bumpy ride for the Rays.
Hold on to your helmets, September's going to be a bumpy ride for the Rays.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday’s 5-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics can definitely be described as a game of failed hopes. Joe Maddon had hoped that the Rays bullpen could do a better job than what Roberto Hernandez might have. However, why is this decision coming on September 1st in the midst of the playoff push? Maddon waited this far into the season to decide that Hernandez might not be a good option as a starting pitcher?

In the top of the seventh inning, with outs and Wil Myers on second, Desmond Jennings lined a ball into left field in which Tom Foley decided to send Wil Myers home despite Cespedes getting to the ball before Myers even reached third base. All season long Foley throws the stop sign up, but yesterday he hoped that Myers would beat out the strong arm of Cespedes. Of course, Molina was up next and who knows if he would have been able to score Myers or Jennings, but it was the seventh inning and Griffin was over 100 pitches.

Instead of getting at least five innings out of a starter and then using only two or three bullpen men, the Rays used seven different bullpen pitchers yesterday. For a more detailed recap on each of the pitcher’s appearances, you can check out Ian’s recap here.

Now it is September 2nd and the Rays are five and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East, two and a half behind Oakland for the first Wildcard spot and three games ahead of Baltimore for the second Wildcard position. The Red Sox have four off-days remaining while the Rays only have one. Here’s a look at the Red sox remaining schedule and the Rays.

The Rays head into Anaheim next to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a four game series, and per Marc Topkin, below is the expected pitching rotation.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rays&amp;src=hash">#Rays</a>-<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Angels&amp;src=hash">#Angels</a> pitching looks like: Mon, Archer-Richards; Tues, Moore-Vargas; Weds, Odorizzi/Hellickson-Weaver; Thurs, Price-Williams</p>&mdash; Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays/statuses/374266026340265984">September 1, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Links:

-A soldier returning home from overseas dressed up as a hot dog to surprise his family at a minor league game.

-David Schoenfield of ESPN’s The Sweet Spot examines Maddon’s bag of tricks, while Bill Baer takes a look at the current division leaders around the league.

-Steve Staude of FanGraphs has developed a playoff chances simulator, which has the Rays listed with a 57.6% chance to make the playoffs and the highest percentage in the American League to win the one-game Wildcard playoff.

-Zack Greinke stole his second base of the season yesterday, becoming the first pitcher to do this since 2007.

-Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus takes a look at baseball’s ‘year without suspense.’